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Let's face it, LTE is a mess. The different flavors found all around the world causes issues not just for consumers -- try traveling abroad and getting LTE -- but also for OEM's who actually want to put LTE into their devices. What if, what if one device could pick up LTE wherever you happened to travel? 

Enter Qualcomm, and the announcement of the RF360, which is hailed as the worlds first global LTE compatible front end solution. We're not going to see anything carrying it anytime soon, Qualcomm says they expect the first devices to be available in the second half of 2013. But, that's still not all that far away. Exciting times for sure, and the full release can be found after the break. 

Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm RF360 Front End Solution Enables Single, Global LTE Design for Next-Generation Mobile Devices

New WTR1625L and RF Front End Chips Harness Radio Frequency Band Proliferation, Enable OEMs to Develop Thinner, More Power-Efficient Devices with Worldwide 4G LTE Mobility

SAN DIEGO — February 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., introduced the Qualcomm RF360 Front End Solution, a comprehensive, system-level solution that addresses cellular radio frequency band fragmentation and enables for the first time a single, global 4G LTE design for mobile devices. Band fragmentation is the biggest obstacle to designing today’s global LTE devices, with 40 cellular radio bands worldwide. The Qualcomm RF front end solution comprises a family of chips designed to mitigate this problem while improving RF performance and helping OEMs more easily develop multiband, multimode mobile devices supporting all seven cellular modes, including LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE. The RF front end solution includes the industry’s first envelope power tracker for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, a dynamic antenna matching tuner, an integrated power amplifier-antenna switch, and an innovative 3D-RF packaging solution incorporating key front end components. The Qualcomm RF360 solution is designed to work seamlessly, reduce power consumption and improve radio performance while reducing the RF front end footprint inside of a smartphone by up to 50 percent compared to the current generation of devices. Additionally, the solution reduces design complexity and development costs, allowing OEM customers to develop new multiband, multimode LTE products faster and more efficiently. By combining the new RF front end chipsets with Qualcomm Snapdragon all-in-one mobile processors and Gobi™ LTE modems, Qualcomm Technologies can supply OEMs with a comprehensive, optimized, system-level LTE solution that is truly global.

As mobile broadband technologies evolve, OEMs need to support 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and LTE Advanced technologies in the same device in order to provide the best possible data and voice experience to consumers no matter where they are.

“The wide range of radio frequencies used to implement 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks globally presents an ongoing challenge for mobile device designers. Where 2G and 3G technologies each have been implemented on four to five different RF bands globally, the inclusion of LTE brings the total number of cellular bands to approximately 40,” said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Our new RF devices are tightly integrated and will allow us the flexibility and scalability to supply OEMs of all types, from those requiring only a region-specific LTE solution, to those needing LTE global roaming support.”

The Qualcomm RF360 front end solution also represents a significant technological advancement in overall radio performance and design, and it comprises the following components:

Dynamic Antenna Matching Tuner (QFE15xx) – The world’s first modem-assisted and configurable antenna-matching technology extends antenna range to operate over 2G/3G/4G LTE frequency bands, from 700-2700 MHz. This, in conjunction with modem control and sensor input, dynamically improves the antenna’s performance and connection reliability in the presence of physical signal impediments, like the user’s hand.
Envelope Power Tracker (QFE11xx) – The industry’s first modem-assisted envelope tracking technology designed for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, this chip is designed to reduce overall thermal footprint and RF power consumption by up to 30 percent, depending on the mode of operation. By reducing power and heat dissipation, it enables OEMs to design thinner smartphones with longer battery life.
Integrated Power Amplifier / Antenna Switch (QFE23xx) – The industry’s first chip featuring an integrated CMOS power amplifier (PA) and antenna switch with multiband support across 2G, 3G and 4G LTE cellular modes. This innovative solution provides unprecedented functionality in a single component, with smaller PCB area, simplified routing and one of the smallest PA/antenna switch footprints in the industry.
RF POP™ (QFE27xx) – The industry’s first 3D RF packaging solution, integrates the QFE23xx multimode, multiband power amplifier and antenna switch, with all the associated SAW filters and duplexers in a single package. Designed to be easily interchangeable, the QFE27xx allows OEMs to change the substrate configuration to support global and/or region-specific frequency band combinations. The QFE27xx RF POP enables a highly integrated multiband, multimode, single-package RF front end solution that is truly global.
OEM products featuring the complete Qualcomm RF360 Solution are anticipated to be launched in the second half of 2013.

Qualcomm also announced today a new RF transceiver chip, the WTR1625L. The chip is the first in the industry to support carrier aggregation with a significant expansion in the number of active RF bands. The WTR1625L can accommodate all cellular modes and 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE frequency bands and band combinations that are either deployed or in commercial planning globally. Additionally, it has an integrated, high-performance GPS core that also supports GLONASS and Beidou systems. The WTR1625L is tightly integrated in a wafer scale package and optimized for efficiency, offering 20 percent power savings compared to previous generations. The new transceiver, along with the Qualcomm RF360 front end chips, is integral to Qualcomm Technologies Inc.’s single-SKU World Mode LTE solution for mobile devices that are expected to launch in 2013.


Reader comments

Qualcomm announces global LTE solution for mobile devices


Really excited for this so we don't have to see differentiation between hardware like the international and the US versions of the GS3.

Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online.(Click Home information)

Does this mean that the future of LTE Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc. is now solely software radios? IE. Much easier to flash between carriers, ie. unlocked LTE? Also, what stops us from having this and GSM work on the same device?

For the time being, SIM unlock becoming illegal. Though phones purchased unlocked will be able to use on any network, which I'm gladly finally will happen.

sim unlocking isn't illegal, it's only illegal without the carrier's permission if you purchase a locked phone. AT&T can still legally unlock their devices for you to move and Google can still sell unlocked devices.

That sounds awesome and it's certainly a good thing for future Nexus devices. But is this a separate chip or can it be embedded on the processor?

"We won't see anything carrying it anytime soon" and "second half of 2013" are opposites sir. Seriously, what world do you live in where 9 months at MOST is not soon?

I'm hoping this thing could be thrown in a certain Moto X and be unveiled in July of this year. Obviously high hopes.

This is why Qualcomm is killing it, not due to crazy graphics cores, not due to insane CPU clocks, but because their SoCs are so flexible, they lead the worldwide standard in compatibility and ease of use. This chipset could support a Verizon Nexus bought from the Google Play store, that would also work on all the other big three in the US. Provided VZW allowed it on there network :-/ that is the hitch.

Motorola X Phone?

This isn't a flashy news story, so I don't expect much coverage over it, but this is probably more significant to the future of cell phones than anything that will come out of Mobile World Congress.

If you travel or live outside of the US, your 2013 phone ought to have one of these Qualcomm chips in it.


The biggest news here (and it's quite the game changer) is the integrated CMOS power amplifier. This product is integrating the CMOS power amplifier into the rest of the front end module which they can do for pennies. Phone manufacturers using this and similar products will no longer have to separately buy power amplifiers (which up to this point have been GaAs based and cannot be integrated into the Si based front-end.)

This is good for the consumer, but I'm afraid companies that specialize in III-V based RF semiconductors are probably shaking at the knees right about now. They knew this was coming but not this soon.

We'll see how the competition affects the market over the next 1-2 years. The end result will only be good for the consumer, though.

"We're not going to see anything carrying it anytime soon, Qualcomm says they expect the first devices to be available in the second half of 2013. But, that's still not all that far away."

So... it's not any time soon, but it's not all that far away? Haha.

This is great news, hopefully the next Nexus has this and solves the LTE problem for Google. Being able to use any LTE network in the world is pretty awesome!

Wow look at Qualcomm on a spree! I wish I was old enough to buy some stock :(

agreeing with one of the posters above me, the Snapdragon S4 on my Evo Lte is just so snappy man, like everything in the real world, not just on paper, it does not hesitate. and I heard the new 600 series goes 2X that performance, I wont even be able to tell lol.

it is no doubt why Microsoft and the OEMs are going Qualcomm for the 2nd wave of windows rt tabs